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Wednesday August 31, 2016

HTC Makes $5M Investment In VR Gaming Startup

It's a pretty big vote of confidence when HTC, the company behind the Vive VR headset, invests a cool $5 million in your company. The current game from Steel Wool Studios is Quar: Battle for Gate 18 and currently has overall positive reviews on Steam.

HTC is continuing to invest heavily in building up the virtual reality ecosystem that it hopes to one day dominate. Steel Wool Studios, an Oakland-based gaming studio made up of Pixar veterans with a few decades of animation experience under their belts, announced today that it has closed a $5 million round of Series A funding coming entirely from HTC, the manufacturer of the Vive virtual reality headset.


EA Exec Responds To "Worst Company In America" Controversy

Whether we agree or not, most of us know why Electronic Arts has the dubious distinction of being the "Worst Company in America." With that said, do any of you really think this "put players first" initiative will help them shake that title? Or do you think this is all just lip service?

"You try and be defensive and say this is stupid, this is ridiculous; and then you go, 'Maybe there's a kernel of truth here.' Maybe this is a moment we can step back, look in the mirror, look at who we are, look at how we're perceived, and figure out what we need to do to do something about it. Perception is reality so if there perception is that we're not a company that puts players first, then how do we change that?"


Gaming [H]eadlines

Battlefield 1 Beta Resolution Scale Bug Fix @ VG24/7

Free Play Coming to EVE Online @ Blue's News

Mass Effect Remasters Are "Easy Money" @ GameSpot

New Titanfall 2 Trailer Out Now @ Shacknews

Inexpensive DIY Ceiling Mount VR System

This DIY ceiling mount VR system is brilliant. Anyone that has ever used a VR headset like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift knows that the cables can be kind of a pain in the ass. Well, this guy has a brilliant idea to keep your wires out of your way and it only cost about $15! Thanks to Johnny Gatt for the link.


Acer's Insane Gaming Laptop Is A Magic Box Of Stupid

Part of me wants to laugh at this laptop (if you can call it that), but the other part of me totally digs the specs on this thing. Yeah, it is pretty ridiculous but in a kinda cool, so-over-the-top-it-isn't-even-funny sorta way. big grin

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It's the world's first laptop with a curved screen...not to mention two (2) GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs and a built-in mechanical keyboard. It requires two (2) power supplies to run, and needs five (5) system fans and eight (8) heatpipes to stay cool. It holds up to 64GB of memory and five (5) storage drives at a time.


[H]ardware Round-Up

Cases: COUGAR Panzer Max @ FunkyKit

Cooling: Scythe Fuma CPU Cooler @ HardwareSlave

Storage: Crucial MX300 SSD 1050GB @ SSD Review

Transcend ESD400 Portable USB3 SSD @ Benchmark Reviews

Video: PowerColor Red Devil RX 480 8GB @ OCC

Google Launching Ride-Sharing Pilot To Compete With Uber, Lyft

Uber and Lyft better watch out, Google is getting into the ride sharing business. Normally I wouldn't think much of another company entering the ride-sharing market but, this is Google we are talking about, the amount of resources they have make them an immediate threat.

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The Waze pilot program charges riders a maximum of $0.54 per mile (the current IRS mileage reimbursement rate, so a pretty common rate to see mileage reimbursement set to) to be matched to drivers headed their way. That’s lower than Uber’s rate, which is an incentive for passengers to try it. And for now at least, Google’s not taking a slice of the money — which may be incentive for drivers to pick up as many folks as they can cram into their cars.


NVIDIA Announces Vault 1080 Mod For Fallout 4

Today NVIDIA announced Vault 1080, NVIDIA’s LightSpeed Studio’s free to download add-on level mod for Bethesda’s acclaimed Fallout 4. The mod adds an in-depth side quest and level area that provides over on hour of additional Fallout 4 gameplay in an expansive vault. Vault 1080 features the same NVIDIA GameWorks Technology as Fallout 4, which includes Volumetric Lighting, God Rays, HBAO+ and FleX-powered Weapon Debris. The mod delivers a sizable amount of content, over an hour of gameplay, which will be sure to please Fallout 4 players.

The storyline is set in the dark underground hallways of Vault 1080, a misguided congregation embraced darkness and sickness in order to survive. Search for the truth within the depths of the vault, and judge for yourself whether monsters deserve salvation. NVIDIA's Vault 1080 mod finds the player trudging through a foggy, murky marsh to the ruins of an old church. Inside they find Vault 1080, roughly similar in size to the other vaults found throughout the Commonwealth, you will find lost secrets and unknown horrors hidden in the shadows. We use volumetric lighting to light the corridors and rooms, creating a great deteriorating atmosphere for players. Shadows are enhanced by NVIDIA HBAO+, and weapons debris comes courtesy of NVIDIA FleX.


The Battlefield 1 Open Beta Starts Today

Just a reminder that the Battlefield 1 Open Beta begins today and is available on the PC, Xbox One and PS4. There will be two modes available to play, Conquest and Rush. Here's the official Gamescom gameplay trailer:

The Battlefield 1 Open Beta will include the Sinai Desert map, a scorching hot battlefield located just East of El-Jifar. From infantry skirmishes in the narrow streets of the village of Bir el Mazar to dogfights above the majestic cliffs, you’ll need to make tactical use of the dunes as you engage in explosive battles. When all hope is lost, reinforcements will arrive in the shape of a powerful Behemoth: a deadly Armored Train charging through the desert sands.


The Dropbox Hack Is Real

Despite what Dropbox has been saying, this guy has some pretty compelling evidence that the file hosting service was indeed compromised.

Earlier today, Motherboard reported on what had been rumoured for some time, namely that Dropbox had been hacked. Not just a little bit hacked and not in that "someone has cobbled together a list of credentials that work on Dropbox" hacked either, but proper hacked to the tune of 68 million records.


In Case Of Emergency, Release Raptor Pulled From Sale

Anyone that bought the game In Case Of Emergency, Release Raptor can now get a refund through Steam. The maker of the game is no longer selling the game but, according to this article, the game will be offered for free soon. The decision to offer refunds and make the game free was because of "extremely poor sales."

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A new announcement from earlier this morning explained more details of what’s happening. The game is going to continue to be available through Steam but completely free, though it looks as if there’s currently no way to download or install the game. Arcen had originally planned to refund everyone who had bought it during its few days on sale, but now you’ll need to go through the normal Steam refund process. Refunds are however available to anyone, regardless of how long you’ve played it for.


Will Amazon Kill FedEx?

I don't know if Amazon will kill FedEx and UPS but those two sure are going to feel the loss of Amazon's delivery dollars, that's for sure. Hell, Amazon could just cut to the chase and buy FedEx or UPS and be done with it. wink

Providing near-instant gratification on Amazon’s scale isn’t cheap. Last year the company spent $11.5 billion on shipping—nearly twice what it did two years ago. Along with leasing jets and buying trailers, Amazon has opened more than 28 sorting centers, 59 delivery stations that feed packages to local couriers, and more than 65 Prime Now hubs stocked with best-selling items that can be rushed to customers around the world, according to MWPVL International, a Montreal-based supply chain consultant. "This year we estimate Amazon is going to sell 7.2 billion items," says Gene Munster, an internet industry analyst at Piper Jaffray. "In 2020, which is only four years away, we expect them to sell 12.6 billion items."


How Deep Learning Will Help Your Smartphone Track Your Gaze

From diagnosing certain mental disorders to optimizing the placement of images in textbooks, eye tracking is useful across a variety of fields: psychology, medicine, advertising, marketing and more. Scientists and researchers can learn a lot from understanding where people look and why. But making eye tracking easy and ubiquitous has been hard. Deep learning and NVIDIA GPUs are changing that.

Given its potential, it’s nagged researchers that getting one’s eyes tracked wasn’t easier. "It was quite shocking to me that we all don’t have eye-trackers," says Aditya Khosla, a graduate student in the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory of MIT’s electrical engineering and computer science department. Khosla and a team of six other researchers from the University of Georgia and the Max Planck Institute of Informatics in Saarbruecken, Germany, set out to achieve a straightforward goal: create eye-tracking software that could run on any mobile phone with a camera.


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Intel Bring Premium 4k Movies to PCs

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) and Intel Corporation today announced that ULTRA, SPHE’s 4K movie streaming service, will debut on computers powered by 7th Gen Intel® Core™ processors beginning Q1 in 2017. Coinciding with the expanded availability of the service, ULTRA will add new features like 48 hour rentals and free 10 minute previews, allowing customers to experience a sample of any film on the service in full 4k resolution before buying.

With its new 7th Gen Intel Core processor, Intel is bringing 4K content to mainstream PC users. This latest processor sets a higher bar for richer experiences and incredible performance and responsiveness, with long battery life and true 4K entertainment. More than 100 stunning new devices powered by 7th Gen Intel Core will be available this holiday season, and some will be available as early as September. By leveraging new hardware security technologies in its processor, computers powered by 7th Gen Intel Core will be the first PCs to provide secure access to premium 4K movies and television content through Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s ULTRA 4K service.


Tuesday August 30, 2016

Demystifying Asynchronous Compute

What the hell is Asynchronous Compute? How does it work? What does it do and why do I care? I'm glad you asked because it just so happens that [H] forum member Ieldra put together a great guide to demystifying Asynchronous Compute that we highly recommend reading.

Right off that bat it's worth saying the term 'asynchronous' is abused and misused all the time; if two events are asynchronous they are time-independent of each other. Developers have made claims about their 'async compute' implementations in the past that have been rather confusing because it's usually applied to rendering tasks; it ain't asynchronous if there are data dependencies. To my knowledge, there is no title that actually makes use of ASYNCHRONOUS compute. Most use cases would fall under the third bullet point quoted above. Asynchronous execution arises when you do not have to wait for a routine to return before dispatching additional work, at least that's how it's conventionally defined, which is somewhat similar to how concurrency was defined earlier - which many people find confusing.

Astronomers Don’t Think That So-Called SETI Signal Is Aliens

I don't care if astronomers don't think that SETI signal is aliens, you and I both know it's coming from aliens and they are more than likely hostile. Be that as it may, I'm not worried one bit. Why? Our planet is covered with water and, if movies have taught me anything, it's that water kills aliens.

Paul Gilster at the website Centauri Dreams wrote about it as "an interesting SETI candidate"—meaning perhaps it came from an extraterrestrial civilization. That set off the media storm. But I have to tell you something: Astronomers don’t know much about that "SETI candidate" signal beyond that it’s made of radio waves. And while human beings should absolutely spend some time figuring out what this signal is, they have almost no reason to conclude it came from non-human beings.


Privacy Groups File FTC Complaint Over Facebook, WhatsApp Data Sharing

While I think this is a pretty janky move, you do have thirty days to opt out of data sharing. There is always the option of just not using Facebook or WhatApp as well, that seems to work pretty good too. wink

Some consumer privacy watchdog groups have filed a formal complaint with the FTC, asking them to look into it. The complaint (PDF) comes from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD). The groups ask the FTC to investigate the new terms that Facebook and WhatsApp have set, saying it constitutes "an unfair and deceptive trade practice," which is the legal term for all those misleading things the FTC’s responsible for quashing.


[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cases: CM MasterCase Pro 3 @ ThinkComputers

CM MasterCase Pro 3 @ HardwareAsylum

ETC.: NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV @ Missing Remote

Input.: CM MasterKeys Lite L Combo @ Modders Inc.

Kingston HyperX Alloy Keyboard @ TechSpot

Roccat Sova Living Room Lapboard @ ocaholic

WTHDIJS Video of the Day

If this video does not qualify as the "what the hell did I just see" video of the day, I don't know what will. Although it is kind of hard to see at times, the laser is actually moving the tinfoil in the vacuum chamber.


Cool Video of the Day

There is nothing like watching a hammer go through a mirror at 120,000 frames per second. The shockwave that travels through the glass as it breaks is what makes this video so cool. Well, that and slow motion videos are just cool in general. cool


$1M Negative Yelp Review Lawsuit Dismissed

You guys have been saying this would happen for months since we first heard about this case and it looks like you were right. Common sense prevailed, the lawsuit was thrown out and the petsitter responsible for the lawsuit now has to pay the defendant's attorney fees and court sanctions.

Levy says that by "seeking to silence negative criticism," the petsitters may have ended up risking the future of their entire company. "Not only did the company lose business when customers were disgusted over the non-disparagement lawsuit, it now is responsible to pay attorney fees and sanctions," he explains.


Twitter Wants To Share Video Ad Money With You

According to this blog post, Twitter is willing to share more money with content creators in order to entice more people to use its platform. Apparently Twitter is trying to lure you in with a 70% / 30% split versus the 55% / 45% split you get with YouTube.

Today, we’re excited to announce the expansion of our creator revenue programs, which will provide creators of all sizes with the ability to monetize content in multiple ways and generate revenue at scale. Niche is the creator-first platform that provides creators with the ability to grow, understand, and monetize their social presence across all networks. Niche, a part of the Twitter family since 2015, works with 35,000 creators worldwide alongside top brands to develop authentic and resonating branded content.


Google Won't Fix Flaw That Can Lead To Malware Download

When has a company refusing to fix a flaw ever ended well? Something tells me now that the issue is getting attention that Google will have a change of heart.

I couldn't quite believe that Google had both understood this issue, and simply shrugged it off. So I opened several reports to make sure understanding, or communicating the issue wasn't the error here. In total, three reports were opened with Google; three reports were closed. I have included the final report here, to which I received the most responses.


Kingston Digital Releases New Entry-level Data Center SSD

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced Data Center 400 (DC400) SSD, the latest solid-state drive to its family of enterprise solutions. DC400 SSD is an entry-level enterprise drive designed for server use in data centers especially for customers who deploy a rip-and-replace strategy. It is ideal for read-intensive applications such as boot, web servers and lower data rate operational databases and analytics – especially in data center mixed workload environments where endurance and reliability are important.

DC400 SSD offers superior quality of service for data center customers whose workload environment calls for sustained IOPS and consistent low latency. An expanded on-board DRAM acceleration cache enables high, sustained IOPS to increase performance over a wide range of read/write workloads. Standard as well as user-adjustable over-provisioning improves random IOPS performance and endurance while enterprise firmware improves latency and delivers consistently low data access times under steady-state workloads. Additionally, DC400 SSD features enterprise-class reliability with end-to-end data path protection and firmware-implemented power-loss protection ("pFAIL").


Gaming [H]eadlines

Forza Horizon 3 Lets Features Halo's Warthog @ GameSpot

Gran Turismo Sport Delayed @ Shacknews

PlayStation Now Released For The PC @ VG24/7

The Witcher 3 Patch & GotY Edition Released @ Blue's News

XFX Radeon RX 460 Double Dissipation Review

Those of you looking for a sub-$200 video card on the AMD side of the isle should read our evaluation of the XFX Radeon RX 460 Double Dissipation today. It's efficient, quiet, and has great overclocking potential. What else can you ask for?

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We take the XFX Radeon RX 460 Double Dissipation and use it to play some of our favorite GPU-intensive games and find out how much of an upgrade this $149 video card provides compared to last generation GPUs in this price range. What will upgrading net you in terms of a performance upgrade in the sub-$200 category? We find out.


Ugliest Tesla You Will Ever See

It could very well just be me, but I can't believe someone would do this to a Tesla. I know, I know, it belongs to a celebrity so we should expect this kind of stuff but damn man, that thing is fugly.


[H]ardware Round-Up

Cases: Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 @ FunkyKit

Cooler Master MasterCase Pro 3 @ Modders Inc.

Lian Li PC-09 Dual Compartment Case @ Technic3D

Silverstone Milo ML08 mini-ITX @ techPowerUP!

Gaming: Witcher 3 Blood and Wine @ Real Hardware Reviews

Video: ASUS Radeon RX 480 STRIX @ Play3r

NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready 372.70 WHQL Drivers

The folks at NVIDIA send word that the brand new GeForce Game Ready 372.70 WHQL drivers are out now. According to the release notes, these drivers provide an optimal experience for World of Warcraft: Legion, Battlefield 1: Open Beta, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and Quantum Break on STEAM. Hit the link above for the new drivers and this link for release notes.


Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing Will Be Live Streamed

It looks like Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing will be live streamed on YouTube with a few caveats. The video will have a 20 minute delay, it will not stay online after the hearing and comments will be disabled.

Kim Dotcom's request for his extradition hearing to be live streamed on the Internet has been granted by a New Zealand High Court judge. Beginning tomorrow, proceedings will be broadcast live on YouTube, despite protests from the United States that the stream could prejudice Dotcom's criminal trial in the U.S. should he be extradited.


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